Saturday Satire On Serco Shaping UK Public Services?

Did you know that Serco has an “Institute”? Perhaps Serco imagines itself as an institution?

Did you know that Serco apparently operates what it calls “Four Principles”? Perhaps from local knowledge you think of Serco as being un-principled?

And its Chief Executive Rupert Soames publicly stated to a business services association meeting in 2018 “We know the truth: that our industry delivers high quality services and good value to the taxpayer. That outsourced contracts deliver far greater levels of accountability and visibility of performance than their publicly-delivered counterparts. That we have delivered innovation, flexibility and quality in public services that the public sector never could have done”.

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Serco claims “In our work to continually shape markets and public services for the better, Serco has proposed four principles which we suggest should govern relations between Government and its suppliers, be they public bodies, not-for-profit organisations or private sector companies. These are

“We should strengthen transparency in public contracting. We believe that there should be a formal, rigorous and transparent decision-making process by which Government decides what mechanism it should use, be it in-house or by a third party, to deliver a given project or policy. We call this the “Transparency Principle”.

“Both suppliers and the Government should have the right, on payment of an agreed break fee, to exit a contract at pre-determined intervals.
We call this the “Orderly Exit Principle”. The purpose of this is to give both Government and supplier the ability to exit contracts which are not working out as intended. This would, for both Government and supplier, significantly reduce the risk of being stuck together in unhappy marriages.

“Suppliers of sensitive contracts should be obliged to lodge with Government a “living will”, being a set of arrangements to facilitate the transfer of a contract back to Government or to another supplier if required. This would significantly reduce the operational risk to Government of supplier failure. This is the “Security of Supply Principle”.

And “Government and suppliers should agree to abide by a mutually-agreed code of conduct, which would set out expected standards of behaviour from Government and its contractors. We think it would be important to have a process of independent arbitration built into the code of conduct to ensure that there is some avenue of redress and calling to account those who do not abide by the code. We call this the “Fairness Principle”.

And Soames also said “When I was an eight-year-old, I developed an affection, which I have found hard to shake off, for lavatorial humour, and one of my favourite school-yard ditties went as follows:- ‘Twas a dark and stormy night, The lavatory light was dim, Crash – Bang – Wallop, Somebody’s fallen in”.

So perhaps he might now recognise the Serco delivered appalling mess we record at the Beacon Park Golf Course and take note of a lavatorial instruction for them to “bog off”.

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